Play Time! Children will play with a number of different toys during their formative years, but few of these toys will provide the social and psychological benefits of a plush toy or stuffed animal. Before a child has fully developed their verbal communication skills, playing is often their method for expressing themselves. Not only can a stuffed animal provide a safe and trusted outlet for the child's growing emotional base, but they provide a confidante, a friend that will help them explore their new world. Child psychologists have always used plush toys as a tool for working with children who have emotional and mental disorders that range from clinically complex conditions like hyperactivity and trauma to dealing with the basic nightmare. Choosing the Perfect Plush Toy The key lies in choosing the right plush toy for your child. If your child is a newborn, or at least under the age of 6 months, they haven't built up much strength in their tiny hands, so getting a larger stuffed animal that can sit there on its own without needing to be held or carried works best. As your child approaches their first birthday, they will be more physically active, so a lighter plush toy that they can carry around is a good idea. As they get older and their play becomes more complex, having multiple plush toys will allow them to mimic social situations with their toys, making them more comfortable with the process of interacting with others. Safety First, Always! Like any toy, you should always place child safety above all other considerations. Babies love to put things in their mouths, especially in their first year, so make sure you get a plush toy that has extremities too large to fit inside your baby's mouth. Baby's play time can often be rough play, so ensuring that the plush toy you get has sturdy seams and no parts that can be easily torn off - and then placed in their mouth - is always a good idea. Some materials used in plush toys can conflict with child allergies, so using the most natural and organic materials is a sound approach. Your child will be experiencing a whirlwind of psychological and emotional development during their first 2-3 years. By providing them with a safe, healthy and ultimately cuddly plush toy to help them through that time, you allow them the opportunity to gain those experiences with a trusted friend by their side.